Remain or Leave? The impact on the fishing industry

Fish for thought: Could a Brexit impact the UK fishing industry. Credit: PA

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Martin Geissler

Ahead of the in/out referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union, ITV News looks at the potential impact on the fishing industry, starting with some key facts.


  • UK vessels landed more catch in Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland than England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2014.


  • Iceland and China import the largest amount of fish to the UK

A busy fish market in Scotland. Credit: ITV News


  • UK fishing industry profits are going up


  • The UK negotiates a quota for each fish stock with the EU.

  • The government is responsible for distributing the UK quotas.

Fishing communities have to comply with European quotas that have been imposed. Credit: ITV News
  • Why do many in the fishing communities want to leave the EU?

The Common Fisheries Policy was introduced. This is where limits on the amount of fish caught (quotas) are agreed between EU nations and other non-EU countries fishing the same waters. It led to many days of fishing being lost and people's livelihoods in these communities were affected.

  • What will happen to quotas if we leave the EU?

The UK will still enter into quota negotiations as a separate entity from the EU, along with Norway and Iceland. There will still be quotas imposed by the UK government as it is widely agreed among governments that they are necessary to maintain fish stocks.

  • We eat lots of fish from overseas. What will happen to fish coming into the UK from elsewhere if we leave the EU?

This depends on what trade deal we make with the EU and other countries we do deals with for fish. We import a great deal of fish from China and Iceland which aren't in the EU. We would continue to import their goods as before.

  • Would our fishers be the only ones in UK waters if we leave the EU?

This is unlikely, as fishing rights go back hundreds of years, and weren't first introduced with the Common Fisheries Policy. We need to land our fish in other ports, as other country's vessels need to land in our ports.

  • Do we eat more British fish than fish caught by other countries?

No, we eat far more fish from overseas than caught in Britain. Two-thirds of British catch are exported.

A fishing trawler boat comes into shore in Scotland. Credit: ITV News

Analysis from ITV News correspondent Martin Geissler:

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